XP SP3 CD Now Available

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
PC clocks are notoriously inaccurate SIx-h, probably nothing to do with your battery. Vista comes with a built in online time synchroniser, though you might need to customize it to use a server that works for where you are, and I had a favourite link set on my ME and XP IE to call an atomic clock server to reset my clock at least once a day.
There's no limit to the number of times you can reinstall Windows on the same PC. You won't even need to phone MS. The combination of your hardware and the OS key is registered when you validate, and even if you reinstall, it's still valid and will be automatically accepted.
Even if you change the hardware, you can still reuse your old OS, as long as it's a retail upgrade or full product, though that will probably require a phone call to verify that you've changed hardware rather than used 1 system on 2 machines.
An OEM Windows (like my DVD) is much cheaper, but can never be moved to a new PC. It's tied to the original hardware by the terms of the cheaper licence.
 
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six-h

New Member
Terry60,
Don't know about Vista, as I run XP Home. I had my PC set to time sync weekly (if I'm online at the correct time) with the time.nist.gov site, and it has always been spot on, however, when I noticed it was slow tonight, I forced a sync, and it failed.
I changed to the time.windows.com site, and again forced a sync successfully, so I'm wondering if my use of either AVG 7.5, or Online Armor firewall, both of which I've been using since early May, might be blocking the "nist.gov" sync, whilst it appears that the windows site gets through??
I don't know how to check if the AV, or Firewall is set to allow time sync's but maybe, as you say, I might not need a new battery, though it is about 3 years old!
I'll keep an eye on it for a while.
Intrigued by your mention of other sync sites, and the fact that you can schedule daily sync's...tell me more! (Meanwhile I'll try Google!)

Thanks for advice concerning phone registration of windows, I'm just worried that at some point, WGA might say "whoa, this computer has fundamentally changed and is no-longer the machine that this OS was tied to. Permission denied!"

I do so want to keep this machine running , for two reasons, I like "XP", and I like "Word", both of which I would loose if I had to buy another machine because I would be silly to buy a new machine with an all but extinct operating system, and I could never justify the cost of "Office".
Funny old things we customer, aren't we!!:smile:
six-h
 

Ex_Brit

Moderator
Staff member
It's very unusual for a PC battery to need replacing unless you've literally been using it for years and years. You would know if it needs replacing when the machine needs re-synchroinising every time you turn it on.

I don't know about your firewall but McAfee's has a specific setting for the time synch via port 123.
 

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Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
I found the windows default server kept failing to sync, and changed to time-a.nist.gov, which works reliably for me.
You can hack the registry to up the frequency of the Vista sync, but on XP I did it manually by just creating a button in my links bar to execute a program that called the time server. (I found it online so long ago I have no idea where. I didn't have an always-on internet connection then, so didn't want an automatic sync that might execute when I was offline, hence incorporating it into IE)

The battery in my Aptiva is about 12 years old and still going strong.

I use AVG (8.0 now) and it's never caused a problem with sync, though you have to experiment with the server that's most reliable where you are.
The servers listed by Vista as options are
time.windows.com
time.nist.gov
time-a.nist.gov
time-b.nist.gov
time-nw.nist.gov
 
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six-h

New Member
Thanks for your comments Terry60, and Peter.

I had just completed my response, when I had one of my frequent freezes, and lost the lot!
Battery and time sync problems are I feel just minor irritations compared with what I feel is just around the corner.

Never a day passes without some new problem looming on the horizon!
First boot this morning, the HDD spun up, and sounded like a demented Bee until the desktop had built.
After the Freeze, and a hard shutdown, no more noise, but the post test screen got as far as "Memory", and stopped for 10 or 12 minutes before continuing.

Is this technology's way of telling me that my HDD is terminally ill??
Or is there some other delight in store for me?

six-h (thoroughly depressed!)
 

six-h

New Member
Thanks Peter,
I've made and used a memtest86 disc before, but on instruction, only run it for 30 passes with no faults found.
4 Hrs makes that look a bit silly though!
Won't such a long run be detrimental to my RAM?

I've looked at the Seagate link, but though that would be beneficial, it looks too complicated to do on my own.
I wouldn't know which options to download for a start!

Regarding spyware, I'll try superantispyware, but it's these very tools that got me into this mess in the first place!

six-h
 

Ex_Brit

Moderator
Staff member
OK ignore the memtest and Seagate. I would try and have your machine looked at by an expert.
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
Anyone like using the address bar in XP?

It seems as if Microsoft has done away with it in SP3. I've upgraded 5 different machines to XP SP3 since its release and all of them have lost the address bar. So much for typing in an address and having it go there without having to first take the time to launch the browser. Kind of odd seeing how it is present in Vista's orginal release as well as Vista SP1. Just something I thought I would share...
 
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mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
I have an address bar in SP3... But it's a slipstreamed install.

six-h:
This is looking more and more like a hardware issue - is your PC still under warranty?
The exact cause could be any number of things, but overheating and/or a faulty PSU could be culprit.
 

Ex_Brit

Moderator
Staff member
Justin,
This is by design.
Service Pack 3 does remove the taskbar Address Toolbar which, IMHO was one of the more useful features
It was because of Legal problems.
Strangely it still exists in Vista SP1, why I'm not quite sure.
You can reinstate it.
Replacing browseui.dll in your system32 folder with a pre-SP3 version will allow you to use the address bar again.
I did this by expanding the browseui.dl_ file on my XP SP2 disc and so far I haven't noticed any problems at all.
 
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six-h

New Member
Mahmoud,
I thought you'd all written me off:smile:

No, My machine was purchased new in November 2003.
It had motherboard problems, and the MB was replaced on site on three occasions, one of them was DOA.
Later, it started "Disk boot failure" after the POST test, and Medion asked me to return it for investigation.
When it came back with the same fault, I was fuming, and phoned their Chairman in Germany (16:30 on a Friday!), Saturday morning, two engineers motored up to Manchester from Swindon, and spent two hours dismantling my machine, only to find that the root cause was a dud BIOS battery!!
They gave me a 512mb stick of RAM as an apology - quite an expensive battery!!
Since then I've had no problems - 'til now.

This last couple of days, odd things have happened on Boot-up: -

On occasions, I've had the "demented Bee" noise at boot, until the desktop has built.

The 10 minute wait at POST test after reporting 1GB memory,...then continuing to report the CPU etc. as normal up to the "windows loading" screen, then another four to five minutes wait after that with a black screen before the cursor appears.

This morning, it was the turn of the Bee!
Feeling the case, the vibration seems to be coming from the bottom, where I think the HDD is sited.
This may not be accurate though.

As far as I know, the freezing only seems to happen when I'm using the Internet, I only have IE7 at the moment, but it also used to occur in Firefox.
I've not done much cpu intensive work recently, just manipulated a few Photos in Elements and had no problem with that.

When I did the Factory re-set, it of course took me back to November 03, (SP1), so I installed SP2 from an MS Disk, and I recall during the following 20 hrs in which I attempted to coax my PC to accept the 98 outstanding updates, I also downloaded IE7, and had trouble installing it, I seem to remember that another file downloaded with it, called "Error Correction something or other" which I thought strange, but don't feel that the copy of IE7 is flawed, since this is exactly the same problem that I had previously with both FF and IE7.

Regarding PSU, I'm not making any demands on it since all my peripherals are self powered...or is that not the point?

A few posts back, you, or someone else mentioned that even though I had run "chkdsk/r", installing an "image" would obliterate the markers, resulting in a corrupted image.
Is a "Factory-reset" considered to be an image?
If so, would a "flat re-install" avoid the bad sectors?
Another thought, what about doing a repair with scannow (If that's what it's called, I'm just recalling something that I've read somewhere!)

like I said, sooo many questions!

Thanks for your continued interest.

six-h
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
PSUs can start putting out less and less power over time, regardless of your usage.
Depending on the type of restore, there's a good chance that factory reset is image-based.

Your best bet is a "flat reinstall" to avoid those bad sectors.
 

six-h

New Member
I see, but would a failing PSU cause the intermittent noise at boot, or the delays during the post test?
Are there any tasks that I could execute that would put the PSU under some stress, in order to see if it shows weakness?

Is there any point in trying a "repair" to the OS using scannow?

If I do a successful flat install, bearing in mind that the HDD is possibly suspect would I be best advised to change it as soon as possible?
If so, to avoid having to repeat the process on the new disk, could I then image the failing HDD onto my external disk, and transfer it back on to the new HDD?

six-h
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
PSUs can cause noise and delays in components in the system if it is failing. Delay in components is caused by an inconsistent amount of power (either over or under normal) when the PSU cannot supply enough or is supplying too much power to the component.

I have had an older desktop with power supply problems that resulted with the same symptons... a very loud, slow, and unreliable computer. A replacement PSU is realtively simple to obtain to replace a faulty one. You just need to be awae of the type of motherboard your system has to determine the right one. Your owner manual that came with the system should have system specific details to describe its components.

Justin,
This is by design.
Service Pack 3 does remove the taskbar Address Toolbar which, IMHO was one of the more useful features
It was because of Legal problems.
Strangely it still exists in Vista SP1, why I'm not quite sure.
You can reinstate it.
Replacing browseui.dll in your system32 folder with a pre-SP3 version will allow you to use the address bar again.
I did this by expanding the browseui.dl_ file on my XP SP2 disc and so far I haven't noticed any problems at all.

ROFLMAO! Legal issues over a little address bar in the taskbar. Seems like a universal feature to me! :smile:
 

six-h

New Member
Thanks Justin,
your reply, and experience adds yet another layer to my possible woes!!

So far, aside from some kind of terminal infection, the suspects which have been pointed out to me are: -

1) HDD failing.
2) Mother board failing.
3) Network card failing.
4) Wireless card Failing.
5) Incorrect Router settings.
6) Faulty RAM.
7) PSU failing.

Suspects 2 to 5 were "fingered" by the Medion help desk, (in whom I have little faith) though having had the Motherboard replaced three times in the first 6 months of it's life, I'm not overly confident that it is innocent!

Router settings! - I've not changed these in 12 months, and haven't had any problems 'til now, so unless I'm missing something, I can't see that being the culprit.

RAM, - I've run "Memtest86", granted, only for thirty passes, but that found no problems.

Which seems to leave the PSU and HDD "in the frame!"

I suppose the good news is that the case and the wiring loom seem to be OK...at the moment!

I've been looking at the Motherboard manual, which only adds to my confusion!
It is listed as an "MD-8080 M-ATX".
Based on Intel 865PE and Intel ICH5 Chipsets. (Is that an Either, an or, or both?)
supports socket 478.

The PSU is listed as "supporting ATX power supply".
It goes on to describe the "ATX 20 pin power connector" : ATX1,
then further describes the "ATX 12V power connector: JPW1.
Why can't these manuals just say, "You've got a 240 Volt model XYZ 1 power supply, 500 watts output", then we'd know what to buy to replace it!

Reading further in the manual, I was surprised to find that I have an AGP slot! Maybe if my machine can be saved from the scrap heap, I could upgrade to one of those flashy new graphics cards. (dream on!)

Given the above, what's the consensus on the main suspect? (Who-dun-it?)

Also, given the clues from the manual, can anyone suggest what I should be looking for to replace the power supply, in the event that this one gets "Sent down"?

six-h
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
Replacement power supplies shouldn't cost too much. Since your manual listed that the PSU had a 500 Watt output level, you just need to make sure that the replacement one matches that or higher. If you go under that, your replacement PSU may be unable to supply the system's components with enough power.

Since there are multiple things that may be causing problems, I would just follow Peter's advice and have it serviced by an expert. If repair costs go high enough, you might consider simply getting a new machine.
 
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six-h

New Member
Not sure if anyone will notice this continuation of my tale of woe!
Just to bring you up to date, I've managed to illicit the rare promise of help from one of the engineers that maintains the systems at the college where I help out with PC literacy classes.
Emboldened by this offer, and with the consensus on the PCA forum that my graphics card fan may be the cause of the ever more frequent buzzing noise on first boot of the day, and also the freezes that I'm having; I was following their advice to remove the side panel, in preparation for first boot tomorrow, so that I could pinpoint the source of the noise.
Scary stuff!!
Whilst easing the panel rearwards, so that I could then remove it, I caught sight of the monitor, which seemed to be in some sort of "safe mode display", and was warning me that the graphics driver was not functioning correctly, and that I should save my work and shutdown!
(Why do I get these strange problems!)
On rebooting with the cover pushed back in place, all was normal, and an error report was generated.
I've grabbed them, and wonder if you can make sense of them.
I'll post back with links to the screenshots, since I risk losing all this post if I get a freeze whilst posting the links!!

Addendum:

Here's the error report: -

and this is the content: -

I don't know how to access the dump, if you need that, I'll need instructions!!
Sorry to be such an on-going pest, but I'm hopeful that a solution is close at hand!!
 
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six-h

New Member
Thanks justin,

My logic, such that it is! is telling me that my problems are probably threefold:
A corrupted OS due to the two bad sectors that have developed on my HDD, coupled with a possibly loose graphics card with a dickey fan, - and maybe an outdated driver!
After my hairy experience last night, I shut down and removed the side cover in preparation for first boot this morning.
I fired it up whilst knelt beside the case with a paper tube resting lightly on the graphics card fan casing, and sure enough, the noise was coming from there!
I had a listen to the CPU and Power Supply fans, and both were quiet.
When I checked the monitor, it was black, and the power light, normally green, had reverted to Amber, (No Signal), so I did a hard shutdown, and re-booted, all was normal.
I think I'll just leave it now to the school's engineer who might give me a bit of hands on experience if I'm lucky, and that would be worth it's weight in gold!!!
 
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